The Saxony Wine Trail
scenic vineyards enclosed by dry stone walls, marvellous viewpoints and traditional wine cellars
This wine region stretches along the Elbe from Pirna to Pillnitz, Dresden, Radebeul and Meißen. Typical grapes in Saxony are Weißburgunder, Grauburgunder and Müller-Thurgau as well as Riesling.
Records of wine making in Saxony go back to 1161. Viticulture experienced a huge upturn as the influence of the monasteries increased and reached its climax in the 16th century. In 2004, Saxony celebrated 400 years of growing grapes in terraced vineyards.
The charm of this delightful countryside dotted with fascinating towns and villages comes from the favourable climate, impressive architecture and a carefree way of life. This smallest wine region in Germany has a mediterranean feel with vineyards along the Elbe, traditional taverns, the autumn wine festivals.
It was wine and porcelain, together with rich silver deposits, that brought fame and fortune to Saxony. The local porcelain manufacturing tradition dates back almost 300 years.
The name Pirna derives from the Sorbian phrase, na pernem, meaning on the hard (stone). The representation of a pear tree in the coat of arms was a later, fanciful, German-language notion about the town's name ("pear" is Birne in German, which sounds rather like "Pirna").
Pirna was mentioned for the first time in a document in 1233. The king of Bohemia bought the city and the castle from the Bishop of Meißen in 1293 and Pirna belonged to Bohemia until 1405. The construction of the new church was begun in 1502 under Meister Peter Ulrich von Pirna. With the introduction of the Reformation into Saxony in 1539, Anton Lauterbach, a friend of Martin Luther's, became pastor and superintendent. In 1544 the strategically important castle was upgraded to a fortress by Moritz von Sachsen. Three years later it withstood the siege by elector Johann Friedrich von Sachsen in the Schmalkaldic War. On April 23, 1639, the city was invaded by Swedish troops under the commander in chief of the Swedish army Johan Banér.
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